DC's new Justice League Dark series reveals that magic is dying in the DC universe. Wonder Woman and Zatanna have assembled a new team to try to put matters right - but it seems one of the two women is destined to be responsible for magic's ultimate demise.
The No Justice miniseries has shaken the DC universe to the core. The entire planet has been exposed to exotic energies, and the impacts are staggering. Ordinary humans are being transformed into so-called "Emergents," powerful and dangerous new metahumans, and the Titans are attempting to police this. But Wonder Woman has recognized another crisis, and she's assembling a unique new Justice League team to deal with it.
Wonder Woman has noticed a series of magical accidents, with experienced practitioners of the mystic arts finding that their powers are out of control. Justice League Dark #1 opens with Zatanna trying to do basic magic spells in order to put on a show. To Zatanna's horror, she pulls a bloodied rabbit from a hat - and then eldritch energies attack her audience.
Every spell Zatanna tries to use against these energies backfires. Disturbingly, it seems Zatanna isn't the only sorcerer to have this problem; every single one DC's sorcerers is struggling to control their magic, with some eaten alive by their own spells.
Wonder Woman has taken this personally. She grew up knowing the power and wonder of magic, and she views this as an absolute perversion of what magic should be. So Wonder Woman is assembling her own Justice League, one equipped to work within the shadows. Unfortunately for Diana, none of the magical practitioners feel comfortable working as part of this team.
The sorcerers, for their part, believe they're beginning to understand what's going on. The tear in the Source Wall has allowed an ancient, eldritch power into the universe. It's the very creator of magic, and it wants to claim the magic back. But by the end of the issue, Zatanna arrives with an ominous warning; she believes that either she or Wonder Woman will ultimately be the cause of the death of all magic, and with it the Earth itself.
The first issue of any series is essentially a "sales pitch," an attempt to generate interest in the ongoing arc. Justice League Dark #1 is a tremendous issue, promising a world-changing narrative that has incredibly high stakes. Alvaro Martinez's art is perfectly suited to the character and concept, and he clearly revels in the outre and the bizarre. Inker Raul Fernandez and colorist Brad Anderson round out a top-rate team, creating a book that looks truly sinister.
If this is indeed destined to be the death of magic in the DC universe, then it will most certainly be a good death.
Justice League Dark #1 is available now from DC Comics.